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MACDONALD, TURKEY KNOB, DERRYHALE, KLONDYKE, & SUGAR CREEK

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This was a cluster of five coal camps on the northern edge of Mount Hope, WV. I think they all eventually ended up being part of the New River Company empire.


This is a portion of the 1929 USGS topo map of the area showing these coal towns and mines. Notice that there are actually two railroads serving some mines. Of course one of them is C&O's Glen Jean subdivision. The other was the Kanawha, Glen Jean, and Eastern Railway, built by Thomas McKell to haul coal from his mines because he was dissatisfied with the service he was receiving from the C&O.

Macdonald was a very early mining camp opened by the MacDonald Colliery Co., whose owner was Symington MacDonald. Operations began in 1893, mining a ~4.5' section of Sewell seam coal, and ceased in 1938. By that point the New River Co. was running the MacDonald operation. They kept a company store opened there after the mines closed.


An August Saturday evening in Mount Hope in front of the final Macdonald company store, built in 1941 to replace an earlier one. It is just down the street from the (former) New River Co. office building, and all the structures behind it were New River Co. shops or warehouses. (Aug. 2001 image by author)

This may have also been considered the company store for New River's Sugar Creek mine / camp.


A few Macdonald company houses still exist. (Oct. 2001 image by author)


The school house and Presbyterian church at Macdonald may have been built by the coal company. At least they were built on land donated by the coal company. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


A well known picture of Macdonald, WV in its prime. The company store in the center is the same location where the newer store building still exists today. One of the rail cars is labeled Central Railroad of New Jersey, evidence of the popularity of "smokeless" coal from Southern W.Va. for residential and industrial use in large, crowded northeastern cities.(Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)

Turkey Knob also began mining coal in 1893-94. The company name was Turkey Knob Coal & Coke Co., a firm in which local coal baron Thomas McKell was involved.


The coke ovens at Turkey Knob, built in the mountainside, are in poor condition because the area above it was strip mined. (Oct. 2001 image by author)


My theory is that this Turkey Knob structure was the powder/dynamite house. (Oct. 2001 image by author)


Tipple ruins at Turkey Knob. (Oct. 2001 image by author)


Coal tipple and coke ovens at Turkey Knob when the mine was active. Evidently some coke works shipped coke out in box cars, in addition to gondola rail cars. (C&O Railway image via Google Books)


Another old photo of the Turkey Knob coal and coke operation showing what looks like unsized run-of-mine product awaiting shipment. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


This was probably the mine superintendent's house at Turkey Knob. (Oct. 2001 image by author)


1912 photo of a coal camp house and its inhabitants. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


Vintage picture of Klondyke, WV coal camp, showing the tipple in the distance. Klondyke coal mine and coal camp, also known as Dunn Loop mine (sometimes Dunloup or Dun Loup Mine, I have seen it three different ways), was owned and operated by Dunn Loop Coal & Coke Co. Many of the coal companies in this area were named "Coal & Coke" company whether or not they had beehive coke ovens.


McKell also opened nearby Derryhale Mine and company town circa 1900. He actually ran this mine under the name of his own company - McKell Coal & Coke Company. About the Derryhale mine a 1919 issue of The Black Diamond magazine said, "This well known and steady shipper has, during the eighteen years of its successful operation, been a consistent producer of tonnage and its peak of production how now passed, all present shipments being made from ribs and pillars." This photo from a 1908 issue of the same publication is not a great picture, but it is the only view of the Derryhale mine that I have ever seen. The drift mouth of the mine is on the right, miners posed on mine locomotives are in the middle, and the power house is to the left. In the background is a glimpse of the company housing. Today Derryhale is just a dim memory.

West Virginia coal camp
A small portion of the Derryhale coal camp survives into the 21st Century. (2015 image by author)


Thanks to Sandy for sending this picture of the Sugar Creek tipple. The rest of her email reads, "My grandfather was Secretary-Treasurer of the New River Coal Company. My dad was born in MacDonald...There was another mine in Mt. Hope called Sugar Creek. I have a picture of Sugar Creek. After they closed Sugar Creek, the City of Mt. Hope built the first federally funded public housing in the US where the camp was. The public housing is still use today. It is located in the middle of Mt. Hope at 211 and Pax Road. I am very interested in this area, because my grandparents all moved to Mt. Hope in the 1890's." (Image courtesy of Sandy)


Another old photo shows some more of the Sugar Creek coal camp. (Image by others)


(Contributed by Jane Sutphin)


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